“Am I fearful of going 2-8? Yeah, 'cause it could happen with a young team and we got out of the blocks really slow and we had a key injury here or there,” said Homer.
Or, some quality linemen could emerge and a talented junior class of skill position players could have the Tigers right in the hunt for the Region 9 title again.
One area that isn’t a concern is the kicking game with returning all-stater Ethan Stratton. He puts 90 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone and consistently makes his field goals.
“Every coach would love to have a great kicker, and we are lucky enough to have one again,” said Homer.
Hurricane Tigers at a glance
Coach: Chris Homer is entering his 12th season as Hurricane's head coach. The Bear Lake (Idaho) High graduate has amassed an 85-44 record during that span.
(3 returning starters; Wing-T offense)
With just one returning starter on the offensive line, Jordan Ence, and a tough preseason schedule with three straight road games, Hurricane’s offense definitely has a bit of a learning curve. Ence is a great returning starter on the O-line though, a basketball-type kid with good hands and good feet, who can get out and block. Despite the lack of experience on the line, the good news for the Tigers is they have plenty of skill position players. A lot of them are juniors, but coach Homer believes the next Adam Thompson and Weston Yardley are in that group. The only player with much offensive experience is Adlai Elison, who started the last three games in 2012 at QB. Big things are expected of Jeremiah Ieremia as well at fullback.
(3 returning starters)
Like the offensive, the defense is very much a work in progress with only a handful of returning starters. Just like on the offensive line, the defensive line needs great leadership from Ence as the younger guys adjust to the varsity level. Ieremia is a junior with “next-level” talent at linebacker, according to Homer. Elison played some safety last year for the Tigers, but may play sparingly this season as to avoid an injury and cripple the offense.
Coaches preseason 3AA South straw poll: Third
Deseret News 3AA South prediction: Fourth
Bottom line: This is a big year for the Tigers. They’ve been the second-best program in 3A over the past five years and have 57 wins to prove it. This year, however, there are several question marks with very little returning varsity experience and the sting of last year’s blowout loss to Juan Diego in the playoffs still present. Great programs reload; they don’t rebuild. This is a season that may ultimately define Hurricane as a great program if it rises above the uncertainty and competes for another region title. That certainly won’t be easy in the very difficult Region 9.
Hurricane coaching history
2001-current — Chris Homer (89-49)
1989-2000 — Wes Christiansen (54-57)
1983-1988 — Wayne Edwards (20-37)
1972-1982 — Wes Christiansen (57-58)
1957-1971 — Unknown (41-75-9)
1954-1956 — Jim Richardson (11-11)
1950-1953 — Unknown (16-10-3)
1949 — Edgar Lempold (4-2)
Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years
2011 — Brian Scott, RB
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2012 — Jared Edwards, RB
2012 — Sean Hafen, DL
2012 — Ethan Stratton, K
2011 — Alex Sefita, OL
2011 — Kevin Mortensen, DL
2011 — Taylor Parker, DB
2011 — Weston Yardley, SP
2010 — Daniel Nielson, OL
2010 — Jarom Healey, RB
2010 — Taylor Parker, DB
2010 — Eric Canfield, DL
2010 — Corey Edwards, K
2009 — Ian Gates, LB/OL
2009 — Kylynn Iverson, OL
2009 — Jeff Staples, DL
2009 — Corey Edwards, K
2008 — Gordie Dotson, RB
2008 — Ryan Butler, OL
2008 — Riley Pentico, LB
2008 — Gary Bracken, DB
2007 — Ryan Butler, OL
2005 — Kenny Scott, RB
2005 — Tyler Bishop, OL
2005 — Callin Nay, LB
2005 — Cody Olsen, DB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Follow Deseret News prep editor James Edward on Twitter @DNewsPreps